The Ultimate Guide to IVR

Interactive Voice Response or IVR technology has brought changes in voice interactions and revolutionized many industries' customer support. Although it is a simple technology, it has resulted in the innovation of many apps in industries such as customer support, automobile, healthcare, and others.

Here, we shall define IVR, name the various kinds, its benefits and more. Basically, the aim of this article is to help you get a clear understanding of this technology and its apps in various industries.

What is an IVR?

Basically, an IVR is an automated voice system that assists in easier creation of routing and customer grouping. In short, it supports customers to make a decision using the keypad of their phones. Also, this system is mostly used in support centers and in providing customer feedback.

For example, a hotel booking platform which uses an IVR for their helpline number. First, the hotel needs to know the language that a customer prefers. Once they capture that, they check if that caller is an already existing customer.

If the caller has a question that the system can handle, then they assign it to the IVR system. For instance, registered users can cancel their bookings using IVR. Also, if the caller wants to speak to the support, they get connected as per their preferred language.

How does IVR function?

To understand the technology used in IVR, we need to first understand DTMF (Dual Tone Multifrequency), or touch-tone. It is the tone which gets produced when entering numbers on your phone keypad. Each key on your phone is attached to a particular frequency.

Therefore, anytime you make a choice on your phone, particular frequencies get passed to the IVR system via the phone line. These frequencies then get translated to know the pressed key. Based on the key you pressed, various tasks get triggered, either routing get initiated or next message is communicated. In fact, new phone systems come with an automated DTMF encoders.


Types of IVR

Single level IVR

As indicated by the name, it assists you to add just a single layer of IVR on your call flow. For example, an automated feedback call.

Many famous companies apply this type to offer automated feedback. When the feedback call gets triggered, it requests the user to use the interactive voice response menu to enter their rating. After fetching the entry, it gets stored in a CRM. Unlike emails and SMS, calls have proven to receive more engagement.

Multi-level IVR

This kind allows you to trigger a series of interactive voice responses, one after another. As a result, you build complex call flows based on your business needs. You might have encountered a multi-level IVR if you have ever called a support number.

How to Set Up an IVR

There are many ways of setting up an interactive voice response. In fact, you can do so without any technical assistance if you are using a cloud telephony platform. Contrary to that, you must use a tool such as Asterisk, if you are using a PBX system.

Here is a step-by-step process to set up an Interactive Voice Response:

NB: Most platforms provide users with a drag & drop interface for making an IVR Call flow.

  1. First, add some Greetings. Most platforms let you type the greetings and upload a customized audio file. For example, “Welcome to (name of company). We value your call.”
  2. Second, Add the menu options. Here, you can map digits to various actions. Thus, customers can use them to connect to various departments. For example, “Press 1 to speak to our sales agents.”
  3. Finally, you can set the number of times you would like the IVR menu to get repeated. In most cases it is 2-3 times. Also, you can create an applet that get triggered if the user fails to enter a choice.

Ways of utilizing an IVR system

Most systems are adopting the usage of interactive voice response. Thus, it is not limited to just sales and support. Instead, companies are using interactive voice response to book appointments, cancel tickets, and many more.

NB: IVR can het utilized in both inbound and outbound calls.

Here are some ways that various industries use IVR

Automotive industry

Automotive companies can enhance customer experience by leveraging automate feedback calls. But, this should get triggered by an event. For example, customers using DTMF on their phones to rate their experience after a verified purchase of a car. Further companies can use a simple CRM integration to sync this data.


It allows hospitals to use one number for enquiries and customer support. So, if you want to know if your blood report, you can connect to the Lab Department using the same support number. This benefits hospitals by reducing operational costs while increasing visibility.


Voice communication has been revolutionized by the use of interactive voice response. As a matter of fact, IVR is an important component for companies that needs automated and personalized communication. Besides that, the best platform to use in creating an IVR call flow for your business is cloud telephony. It is cost-effective, saves you time to create one, and the issues of maintaining physical hardware.

If you have any comment, question, or suggestion about IVR, use our comments section.